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‘He’s going to die’: Lifesaver relives harrowing mass rescue

A Sydney surf lifesaver has recounted the harrowing rescue of nine beachgoers for which he was co-awarded NSW’s Rescue of the Month.

Off-duty Bronte Surf Club captain James McLennan and his wife Kirsty were forced to leap into action on the warm summer evening of February 1 when they spotted a group of swimmers caught in the infamous southern rip.

Quickly alerting his fellow surf livesavers, the pair rushed out on their rescue boards.

By the time he reached the swimmers, Mr McLennan told Deborah Knight, the situation was “pretty dire”.

“Some were panicking, but we had that sense that ‘okay we’re out of the rip now, let’s crack a few jokes, let’s calm down’.

“That’s when I noticed … a boogie boarder or surfer had picked up a guy who was basically unconscious and not responding that well.

“I had to convince my last three guys … ‘I’ve got to get this kid, otherwise he’s going to die’.

“At one stage, I honestly thought he’d actually passed away.”

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Image: Bronte Surf Life Saving Club